She is the daughter of DePauw University professors, former Georgetown basketball standout Bruce Stinebrickner and author Kelsey Kauffman. She was raised in Greencastle, Indiana. Stinebrickner-Kauffman graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in mathematics from Duke University in 2004.
In 2011 Swartz was prosecuted for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Acting (CFAA), and, facing the risk of long imprisonment if convicted, he committed suicide in 2013.
The alleged victims did not pursue civil litigation, and there was criticism following Swartz"s arrest such as "a respected Harvard researcher. has been arrested.. based on allegations that he downloaded articles that he was entitled to get free". After Swartz"s suicide, Stinebrickner-Kauffman and computer security consultant Alex Stamos, who would have been the defense"s chief expert forensic witness at Swartz’s trial, said that Swartz had been unfairly targeted by the prosecution.